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  1. Whether you're a complete beginner or an experienced sewer, sewing and knitting pattern designer Andrea Thomas of Experiemental Space needs your help with pattern testing!

    We 'met' Andrea on Instagram, and were curious to find out more about her business. In our interview with her below we asked about her background in sewing and what she is looking for in regard to pattern testers.

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    How did you get into making and selling patterns?

    I loved sewing but loved working out how to do new things & how the construction came together even more than just following a set pattern. Once I started planning my own designs, I wanted to make them available for others to sew as well. The thought of other people sewing up my designs was very exciting, and I was right! I’m always so happy to see someone’s Experimental Space make on Instagram. It’s even more rewarding when I hear the instructions taught them something new. I absolutely love that!

    How and when did you learn to sew clothes?

    I first learnt to sew when I was a kid but looking back at what I was able to do I’m not so sure that should count! I properly picked up a sewing machine and started to sew wearable things around 8 years ago. I started by reading books and watching YouTube. Quite a bit was just hands on learning while making a pattern, specifically indie patterns because the instructions were always so much more in-depth than the big pattern companies provided.

    The illustrations on the front of your envelopes are fantastic, who does the illustration and where did you get the idea to do this?

    Thank you! The idea originally came from my husband. At the time I was still working in software development with him and we mainly focused on the video games industry. Through that we knew lots of talented artists and he suggested I get in touch with one of them to see if she would be interested in working with me on this. She loved the idea and created the Evelyn and Casey artwork for me. The second artist, and one I still work with now, is also a character designer from the video games sector. She’s got this incredible ability to take my notes and pictures of the pattern and turn it into a beautiful scene for the covers.

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    Where do you work from to create your patterns?

    Well it’s changed quite a few times over the years! I started off at home, then moved into a little workshop, then back to home as of last year, and shortly I’ll have dedicated studio space in the garden. I’m very excited about that! The new space will let me have all of my materials more accessible and give me the room to do more video creation which is something I’ve been eager to get started on.

    What kind of patterns do you create?

    I create patterns for women’s clothing. Until now it has been focused on tops, but I do have lots of ideas for trousers and coats that I’d like to see come to life. I also have an interest in expanding into some home items and simple menswear but haven’t dedicated much time to those yet.

    What is your best-selling pattern?

    My best-selling pattern is the Evelyn Blouse. It does vary depending on the season (for example, Casey sales are increasing as we get into winter. People want a cosy sweater this time of year but overall, Evelyn sells through all the seasons. I think this is partially because of how easy it is to layer, so it can be worn any time of year!

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    Which patterns are you looking for testers for? Will you need tester for future patterns?

    I am always on the lookout for more testers. Upcoming tests will be for new designs as well as the new size range for Evelyn, Josie & Casey. People seem to think they won’t be ‘good enough’ to test, but I need sewists of all experience levels. The sewists with limited experience help me know if the pattern will be easy to understand and follow, especially with techniques that they are trying for the first time. The more experienced sewists provide assistance on the fine tuning of the pattern and advice on adjustments. Everyone is able to contribute something, and I think it’s important not just advanced sewists are able to follow the pattern.

    Click here to browse Sew in Brighton's range of courses and workshops for all levels of experience.

    Are your sewing patterns available to buy on paper in envelopes as well as PDF downloads?

    Yes, I’m very pleased to be able to say all of the sewing patterns are available in both PDF and Paper versions.

    Are the PDF patterns tile patterns for sewers to print at home or can they send it to a printer which will print on one sheet?

    Both options are included. When you buy a PDF pattern you can print it at home on A4 (US Letter for those in the states), or you can send the A0 file to a printer to receive it all on one sheet like you would in a paper pattern. I’ve recently bought a large format printer so you can now order your one sheet print straight from the Experimental Space website.

    Do you just sew clothes, or do you make anything else?

    One day I’m going to attempt quilting again, but until that day I pretty much stick to clothes when sewing.

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    If you're also interested in learning to sew clothes, home furnishings or gifts, book onto our Learn to Use a Sewing Machine course or our 'Stitch' Sewing and Dressmaking Classes

    Are you looking to develop your skills further? We offer a great deal of courses and workshops, click here to book onto one that suits you

    What is your favourite type of garment to make?

    Favourite is a difficult one to narrow down! I think I’d have to say my favourite in regard to rewarding would be jeans. I wear jeans all of the time and love that I can make up a pair that will fit me perfectly. Really makes me wish I learned to sew jeans sooner so I could have skipped all those frustrating changing room moments!

    How would you sum up the type of clothing that your patterns are for?

    I try to design patterns that are easy to wear but with a bit of a detail or unique twist to them that adds interest. I want them to be real clothes that real people will want to wear on a daily basis.

    Do people need any special sewing machine functions, tools or an overlocker to make clothes from your patterns?

    No special tools are needed beyond a sewing machine. All of the steps in the instructions can be completed with a basic sewing machine. There are options to finish the seams with an overlocker if you have one, but it is never necessary. For example, a simple zig-zag stitch instead would be just fine. There are tools and machines that might make certain steps in your sewing easier or quicker, but as long as you have a basic sewing machine, you’ll be able to make any of my patterns without sacrificing quality.  

     

    If you'd like to be a pattern tester for Andrea, Sign up on her website here!

     

    Or view Andrea's instagram feed at @sewspace.

  2. Class One: I've started a big project... A corset project! Corsetry has ways been something that has fascinated me and since picking up sewing I decided it was time to make one tailored to me.

    The fit of it is what took up my first stitch class, fitting a corset which was available (and the pattern pieces for it) to myself. Although the corset was pretty close to my size, there was a lot that needed changing! The bust had to be enlarged and the back panels shortened... And shortened... And next time they will be shortened again! As can (sort of) be seen in the picture, the pattern piece below the original one is how much it needed to be changed. All this can be tested for sure with a mockup, which is almost finished! The fit is already pretty good and I can't wait to finish the mock up, make any last changes, and get on to the real thing.
     
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    Class Two: This time was more of the same, fitting the mockup! Since the corset has to fit my body perfectly, it's no surprise its taken me another lesson to get it right. It fits pretty well now, all adjustments have been made such as shortening the back panels, and I've started to adjust the pattern pieces (and sticking extra paper along the side where I didn't have enough space for the seam allowances!). 
     
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    Class 3 and 4: My corset has been advancing swiftly now! All my pattern pieces have finally been fully adjusted and the pieces themselves have been cut. I also ironed interfacing to the satin pieces to give them some support as they are quite thin. 
     
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    And so it began... Sewing the pieces together! This part was quite daunting since the pieces have so many curved edges and I wanted to get it perfect. I moved very slowly at first, but my confidence definitely grew. I sewed the satin pieces first and by the time I reached the beige inner layer I was able to get them done in no time. And so both sides of theinner and outer layer have been sewn!
     
    Next comes adding the boning... To be continued! 
     
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    Class 5: Now it's time to prepare for the boning channels! The boning channels are, of course, a vital part of the corset which gives it its shape and support. In order to create those my inner layer's seam allowances are ironed opened (this just makes it easier to sew later on). On the seam allowances I placed a black ribbon which will become a channel. For me, this requires many pins as the pieces are significantly curved and I don't want the ribbon moving about!
     
     
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    My first attempt was more like three until I could finally work out the best way to sew it. At first I tried to sew from the front of the piece in order to achieve nice straight stitching on the outside. However this meant that my sewing on the ribbon was not straight. This means that the bones (plastic, of course) would not have been able to fit in the channels. The ribbon is fairly narrow as well, so precision is key. In the end sewing directly on the ribbon was the best choice and my previous straight stitches on the outside didn't end up too badly after all. My stitches are green since I accidentally bought so much green thread it would feel like a shame not to use it!
     
    The most difficult part was the seam of the most front pieces for the bust. It is so heavily shaped that I ended up having to move at a snails pace just to get it done! In the end I almost finished one side of the corset in terms of channels. Next time will be much quicker!
     
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     "It's fair to say I'm happy that only one of the two layers has boning in it!"
     
    Class 6: Oh dear, we're going into lockdown again! So I am sad to say my corset will not be continuing for quite a while, especially since I'll hopefully be able to travel back home for December! But I am delighted to have been able to attend a final lesson before my long break from Stitch Classes.
     
    First I did a quick try on and Mel helped me by pinning the back panels to the size where the lacing would be appropriate. Then I gently cut off some extra excess from those back panels and folded the two layers inwards 2cm. I then carefully top-stitched the pieces together with a very small seam allowance.
     
    To get it ready for eyelets (and lacing) I needed to give it some extra stability with, you guessed it, some more boning! The boning needed to be very narrow to leave enough space for the eyelets, and none of the pieces were quite the right size. Luckily they are only plastic so I was easily able to cut one piece in half and sew it in. I did this the same way I did the busk pieces by sliding the boning in between the two layers and the using a zipper foot to get as close to the edge of the bone as possible and secure it in place.
     
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    Next comes the binding over the top. To make this easier I machine-basted the edges of the corset closed (like tacking but by machine) before attaching the binding. This way I don't have to worry about the pieces sliding around while I try and add binding as well! Then I managed one half of one binding... I have to wait a while to even get that done now! It's a shame that the Online Stitch Classes  Sew In Brighton is running during lockdown won't logistically work for me, I guess I'll have to be patient...
     
    To be continued! 
     
     
    If you would like to coming along to sewing classes during lockdown and beyond, checkout our online classes here
     
    Check back here weekly for updates on Annie's corset-making journey!
     
    Would you like to have a go at making your own corset?
    If so, find out more about our corset making project here and book online to our Stitch Classes or One-to-One Lessons.
     
     
  3. We spoke to talented textile artist, Anna Liversidge, who teaches our beautiful embroidery workshops to find out more about her inspirations and top sewing tips for students.

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    How long have you been doing embroidery for? 

    I began with machine embroidery at Art college in Barnsley 1994. I didn't delve into hand embroidery until 2004 when asked by my agent to add some to the designs I was creating for children’s wear. 

    What was your inspiration behind doing embroidery?

    As an art student I had a lot of trouble finding my medium. I was initially drawn to ceramics and jewellery, but they weren't a good fit. Textiles seemed really boring to me, having grown up with women dressmaking at home, it seemed like women's work, and not something exciting. I avoided the textile department, until a compulsory machine embroidery workshop. On the day I groaned, looking forward to it being over. To my surprise I fell completely and instantly in love with it. The speed, and possibilities, mixing of fabric and thread was so exhilarating. I soon bought my first sewing machine as I was completely addicted.  

    What do you find most exciting to teach?

     I love teaching machine embroidery on water soluble fabric. The results are quite fast, and it feels very magical to watch the fabric vanish leaving only the threads. It's both a simple and complex process. I can teach a beginner to get a good result the first time, it's all about connecting the threads enough. Though the complications arise in trying to make something look a specific way, as the results are rarely predictable, even after many years of practice.

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    What materials do you work with? And which is your favourite to use?

    For machine embroidery I use rayon threads, which have a beautiful shine, I mix them up with cotton threads for contrast. When I'm not using water soluble fabric, I mostly use cotton organdie and other transparent fabrics. I love the ghostly feel this creates. For hand embroidery I use fine linens mostly and hand dyed threads by paint box threads. I like to mix up the thicknesses and create texture and contrast, so I will use wools, cottons, metallics and even the machine emb rayon. If I had to choose a favourite - cotton organdie, it's very expensive, transparent, smooth but has some stiffness to it which creates substance, and it takes paint beautifully.   

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    What is the easiest skill to start with for beginners?

    The easiest skill for beginners is most definitely hand sewing. I'd say get hold of some simple cheap calico or cotton and start with the basic stitches. I don't use any complex or decorative ones. Apart from occasionally fly stitch (which looks like a bird foot - a V with a line beneath) I mostly do everything with running, straight and back stitch, which anyone can do. I just play with them and layer them up. Slow stitch, and basic darning are very popular now.

    Do you have any sewing tips for students?

    I'd say keep it simple and be playful, see what happens. I was never formally taught hand embroidery, but I can do a lot with very simple stitches. I've taught a few students who had bad experiences at school which put them off. They have enjoyed my classes as my motto is there are no mistakes, things can be unpicked, stitched over, and there is so much to learn from happy accidents. Unless you have to sew very neatly as a seamstress - have fun and see where it takes you. 

    How much of your life do you spend on embroidery? Is it easy to fit in around your day-to-day life?

    It goes in patches, sometimes many hours, other times little. Though I am always happiest when my hands are at work making. In the last year or so I have moved into more fine art textiles, so I am drawing more, and painting, and using stitch too. It is easy to fit into daily life. With machine work I can be working on a large piece and do short sessions through the day. I always carry a piece of fabric with me which I sew by hand when I'm out and about or waiting around. I find it soothing and relaxing, and it brings me into the present moment. 

    Are you currently working on any personal projects?       

     I am working on a new piece which will be part of a solo exhibition I am planning to have in a couple of years. I've been very inspired by seaweed and its textural qualities. Walking by the sea daily I get to soak it all up. The last piece I made was in graduated pinks and suspended on pins, which created shadows. This piece is called The Darkness, and will be made up of layers, and using very dark, moody colours. I've not worked in this way before, and am interested to see how it develops...

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    Our next embroidery workshop takes place on SATURDAY 31st OCTOBER 2-6PM. If you’re interested in participating, click here to book your place. Anna is also available for one to one lessons on anything mentioned in this blog post.

    Anna’s work and designs can be found on her Instagram page: @annaliversidgeartist

  4. Our lovely, super-skilled teacher Jo gives us all the details about her new pattern drafting and making shop on Etsy.  Such a fab idea!  (Plus there's a discount code for you below!)
     
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    Work on your pattern at home or come to Jo's Tuesday Stitch Classes or one to one lessons to get help creating one of Jo's patterns
     
    How did you come to start your Etsy shop?
    Lockdown! For the first time in a long time, I found myself time-rich and I thought fellow sewers may appreciate something to occupy their time and minds during lockdown, so kept myself busy developing my Draft & Make idea.
     
    What inspired you?
    I've been teaching students pattern cutting for a number of years and all seem to enjoy the process of drafting pattern blocks and then creating sewing patterns from them. I decided to merge the two processes and give Intermediate and Experienced sewists the opportunity to go straight into drafting a sewing pattern.
     
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    What's your background experience?
    I am a graduate of the London College of Fashion, and spent over a decade in industry learning my trade as a Designer/Pattern Cutter specialising in ladies tailoring: coats, suits, jackets. After some time out of the industry, I sort of returned in that I started teaching at the wonderful Sew in Brighton - my first course: tailored jackets! That was about 6 years ago now, and since then I have continued to teach everything from sewing cushion covers to bras, but I particularly enjoy fitting and alterations in one to one lessons and Stitch Classes as this keeps my pattern cutting skills active.
     
    Is there a benefit to learning to draft your pattern, rather than using a ready made pattern and if so, what is it?
    For me, I would say the advantage is in the learning and better understanding of the pattern cutting process and through this, improved sewing skills and knowledge.  Obviously it does take longer than just cutting out a finished pattern, but it becomes much more personal and so satisfying. 
     
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    What's your wish for the people who buy your patterns?
    Certainly to enjoy the whole process; from drafting the pattern to making the garment and wearing it with pride. But in doing so, for people to start better understanding and 'reading' sewing patterns  to enable them to be more creative and put a more personal stamp on a garment - because these skills are transferable to any sewing pattern!
     
    What sort of skill level or materials etc do people need?
    There are 3 levels of difficulty so far; from easy to challenging. It is best for people to have made a few garments using a commercial sewing pattern as this means they will be familiar with patterns and garment construction. Full instructions for the drafting are given,  but the making instructions are more of an overview, as it is assumed a certain level of sewing experience. 
    Essential materials would be paper, scissors, sharp pencil, ruler - and rubber!
     
    Does the download include how to make the garment once I've drafted the pattern?
    The instructions give you an 'Order of Make', that tells you the basic order of construction, together with some details of the how. I assume a certain level of existing knowledge, so basic terminology and techniques are not explained - experience has shown me most sewers are keen 'YouTubers' anyway!
     
    and enter code FRIENDS20 at checkout for 20% off!!
     
    Work on your pattern at home or come to Jo's Tuesday Stitch Classes or one to one lessons to get help creating one of Jo's patterns
     
  5. Here's a round up of Kat's favourite, tried and tested sewing aids from the classroom to help make your sewing projects simpler, quicker and neater!


    Water erasable marking pen

    If you need to mark dots or a hem on a white fabric this pen is essential. It's also great for marking up fabrics like fleece which are almost impossible to draw on with anything else! Just mark then when sewing is completed spray with water from the iron to make it disappear. We love these pens and use them all the time in class. Buy them for £2.35 each in Fabric Land on Western Road in Brighton or £2.75 from the wonderful Jaycotts, online here (postage £1.50 - check out the other bits they sell - great range of sewing supplies at good prices, including the glue basting pen below and the Moon sewing threads we use, 1000m reels for 99p each!!)

     


    The Morplan flexible Grader Ruler

    This is an absolute must have for all sewing and pattern making projects. Mark quick hems (see pic with erasable marker above), seam allowances, darts and more. You will use this endleslessy in your sewing and dressmaking. The Morplan one is the only one worth buying as it's super strong and very flexible and has the best markings, both inches and cm. Try it out during a class with us to see how it's used, then buy it from us for £15 or if you want to buy direct from Morplan it's £11.70 (Min order £20+VAT and postage is £5.95)

     


    Water soluble 'basting' glue pen

    This is another great option for holding edges together instead of hand or machine basting or pinning for sewing - and later it just washes out. We use it in a similar way to the tape, one works better than others depending on the fabric. just get both in your kit and see which is best on each project!

    Buy it from Jaycotts for £2.95 here and also refills here

     


    Double sided water soluble 'basting' tape

    This is amazing stuff for holding edges together (instead of hand sewing or pinning) for ease of machine sewing - and later it just washes out, or you can spray with water it it goes all mushy and can be rubbed off! Students have used it in just the last week in class on oven gloves edging, visible and invisible zips, lace trims, pyjama hems and more.

    Buy a 2 roll pack (absolute bargain!) from Amazon here for £5.99

     

  6. I’m now onto my third project with Sew-in-Brighton (in Hove Actually) ….
     
    Having already accomplished a 1940s style tailor-made dress from just a picture, and a converted kimono jacket, it was time to press on with my next (ad)venture - making a facsimile of my favourite Monsoon velvet devore tunic top.  I learned so many tips along the way, I've shared them below with you.
     
    In the first lesson, in order to create an accurate pattern,  I was instructed to fold my tunic in half lengthways and pin it out onto cross and spot paper.  

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    This proved to be tricky with the slippery fabric but lots of pins close to the edge helped to secure it in place ready for drawing round the shape.
     
    This procedure was then repeated with the other side of the garment and the sleeves.
     
    Cutting out my new slippery crepe fabric was really difficult so I was advised by Kat, the teacher, to use lots of pins close together to help hold the shape - a very helpful hint!
     
    Prior to sewing the garment together, the neckline was machine stitched to prevent the fabric from stretching.
     
    On the original tunic the seams were first sewn together and then overlocked,  so this procedure was adopted for the new garment, thereby providing a neat, fray-free finish.
     
    I then secured the neckline with matching bias binding to create a neat finish.
     
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    The hemline of the garment was marked out by Kat with the use of a practical device which delineated the bottom line of the hem measured from the floor in chalk.
     
    I decided to hem the bottom of the tunic and sleeves by hand.
     
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    The finished article looked wonderful.  But the crepe fabric I had chosen, had more give in it the dezore fabric of the original garment, so it felt slightly roomier.  The neckline had stretched slightly when I put the binding on and we remedied this by making a coupld of tucks at the front which actually looked great and even improved the design.
     
    Kat recommended if I were to make it again to use fusable or sew-in stay tape before applying the binding to stop the neckline stretching at all.  Not all fabrics need this apparently, stay-stitching is often enough but I had picked a fabric with a lot of give in it.
     
    All of these things have added a new learning curve to my skills and i'm pleased with my new top.  I'm delighted to have the pattern so I can make some more at home.
     
    Jacqui made her top in a few of our weekly Stitch Classes.  Find out more about them here.   
     
    You can also learn these skills in our 1 day workshop - Replicate Your Clothes. 
    View more info/book here
     
    Contact us here with any questions!
     
  7. We sat down with our lovely teacher Laura to find out what she likes to sew plus a few sneaky tips...

    Laura New 2018       Teacher Laura with student on Thursday evening        Laura Cole sew in brighton teacher

    Laura has been teaching at Sew In Brighton for many years - a whole range of courses including Patchwork & Quilting, Replicate Your Clothes, Applique & Free Machine Embroidery plus general sewing & dressmaking in our Stitch Classes. We love Laura for her warmth, humour, kindness & care she takes of each & every student (and us at Sew In Brighton!)

    What do you enjoy most about teaching sewing at Sew In Brighton? 
    The students! 

    What's your favourite sewing technique or skill either to teach or to do yourself? 
    I think free machine embroidery is really fun and usually when students learn how to do it they get really into it, which is lovely!

    Do you have one sewing tip to share that you think really speeds up or revolutionises people's sewing in some way? 
    I'd say choose the best fabric you can afford. Feel the fabric before you buy it.  In the fabric shop unroll a bit and see what it looks like from a distance and even hold it in front of a mirror. It's all about the fabric for me. 

    What sort of things do you sew yourself, either for you or to sell?
    When I have time to sew for myself I like making clothes and altering bargain finds from charity shops. I also make bags and small accessories from recycled fabrics which I sell through Appendage in Kensington Gardens. 

    What's the most amazing/your favourite thing you ever made and why?
    I have a turquoise silk velvet coat that was a really tricky fabric to sew but it makes me happy every time I wear it!

    What was the first thing you ever sewed in your life and how long ago was it? 
    Well, in 1972 I was 12 and my Mum helped me make a pair of corduroy flares. Really flared!

    What are you making next for yourself? 
    My wardrobe is missing a red dress. Why don't I have one? Maybe that is next. 

    What is your wish for students who come to your classes?  Either for their experience at Sew In Brighton or in their future. 
    Most importantly I hope they have fun and enjoy the experience. Secondly I hope they feel inspired and more confident to carry on sewing at home. 

    Laura will be teaching Thursday morning Stitch Classes from Dec 18-Mar 19.  She also teaches Sew a Rucksack workshopReplicate Your ClothesSew a Coatigan in a DayHen Parties and 1-2-1 lessons

    Check out her designs on Instagram: @one.off.brighton

  8. Boiled wool is our favourite trend for Autumn! The amazing thing about this fabric is you can cut and leave the edge and it won't fray.  We've used it here to make our easy to sew Coatigan for our new workshop.  This is a throw-it-over-anything garment that's so versatile to wear, you'll want to live in it all season!  

    Coatigan workshop 1 Coatigan workshop 2
       

    Coatigan samples

    We've tried and tested this wonderful, warm and luxurious 100% pure boiled wool knit.  It's available online from Stitch Fabrics in a variety of colours - navy / rose pink / lime, grey marl / tan & other colours! £20/m. 
     
     
     
    .....
     
    Coatigan animal print
     
    We also love this on-trend animal print wool mix coating fabric, from local fabric superstars Fabric Godmother which you can also leave raw-edged for a coatigan.  Perfect for sassy winter warmth! £24/m
     
    .....
     
    Alternative Fabric: Sweatshirting
     
    This is another super trendy & cosy fabric option for making a coatigan.  These are our favourite!...

    1) On a Budget  Fluffy fleecy backed sweatshirting (100% polyester) from Fabric Land in Brighton.  A great way to test out this project on a budget before remaking in a more expensive cloth. £5.69/m

    2) Winter Luxury  Fur plush back sweatshirting online from London based Ray-Stitch.  SIB owner Kat REALLY wants to make a coatigan in this stunning fabric! £20/m

    3) Go Green  Organic cotton fleece back sweatshirting from Organic Textile Company's online shop.  It comes in a variety of colours and is VERY wide, meaning it will cost you less in fabric to make a garment from it. From £10/m
     
    Sweatshirting-05
     
  9. Jacqui Rush dress project-06

    I wanted to recreate the style of the dress in the picture on the right but wasn't sure where to start.  I've done a bit of sewing before in the past but that was many years ago and I wanted to do something creative again. I love the 1940's style and it's hard to find vintage garments in my size, so making my own clothes was the perfect solution!

    I started my project in January 2018. I came to the first lesson with Kat in Sew In Brighton's Weekly Stitch Classes in Hove with just a picture of what I wanted to make - a 1940s style day dress with a side button detail (that you see in the illustration above on the right), some calico - and lots of trepidation!  I was made very welcome and first day nerves were soon dissipated in the friendly, cosy atmosphere of the Sewing Lounge.

  10. Stage 1 - 21/03/2018

    I have been wanting to make my own wrap dress for a while now and with spring/summer approaching I thought there’s no better time than now.  I have chosen dress style C from the Butterick B5030 Pattern.  After looking at few patterns, this one appealed to me the most as it has six different versions of the dress which gives the flexibility to cater to different styles.  In particular, dress C was the closest to what I was after.

    I decided not to cut the pattern supplied directly as I wanted the option to make the different versions/sizes in the future.  So I measured my waist, bust, high bust and nape to waist before selecting my pattern size.  I then compared my measurements to the pattern and chose the appropriate sizing. After tracing and cutting the pattern I did a tissue fitting with help from Kat.  A few adjustments later and it’s now ready for fabric cutting!

    Leigh-anne has been coming to classes for exactly a year today, and has now secured a job at Alma's Alterations in Brighton, congratulations! She also has an Instagram feed showing her sewing journey @madebylaluk

    Leigh-anne wrap dress sewing blog classes brighton hove pattern cutting      

  11. Sewing_Brighton_Marble_Moon_Hove_Workshop 

    Alison Campbell runs Marble Moon Kidswear shop on Etsy. She learnt to sew at Sew In Brighton sewing school. We caught up with her to find out all about her business!

    Sewing_Brighton_Alison_Campbell_Etsy_Hove_Workshop

    How and why did you first get interested in sewing?

    As a child, I used to cross stitch with my mum and later, as a student, I wanted to customise my own clothes. I would buy fabric I loved from Birmingham Rag Market but I never managed to fully realise a garment as I was just improvising, although there were some interesting “no-sew” attempts! I bought myself a sewing machine when I was pregnant with my first daughter, and I managed to teach myself how to run up a baby blanket following You Tube tutorials but I always felt something was holding me back from really progressing. When I finally had the time and money to take proper sewing lessons with Kat that’s when things really took off!

    Sewing_Brighton_Alison_Campbell_Etsy_handmade Sewing_Brighton_Alison_Campbell_Etsy_kidswear Sewing_Brighton_Alison_Campbell_Etsy_kidswear_Workshop_blog

  12. We've been having a lot of fun this year, teaching students how to copy their favourite clothes in our popular Replicate Your Clothes workshop and in our weekly Stitch Classes. It's such a handy skill to be able to recreate a much loved garment!  
    Check out our gallery to see what students and teachers have been replicating so far this year...

     Kat Replicate Your Clothes Sewing School Brighton

    Kat replicates her favourite Hennes vest top

     Replicate your clothesVest top brighton sewing school gold
    Kat's vest top replicated!
     

     Replicate Your Clothes 1

    Yael replicated her off-shoulder top in Laura's Stitch class on Thursday evenings

                  
    Replicate your clothes pattern making sewing school brighton

    Romaine replicates her favourite vintage dress in Stitch Classes

     

     Replicate your clothes lessons brighton hove

    Concentration! On the last workshop
    View next Replicate Your Clothes workshops

     replicate your clothes pattern making classes sewing school hove brighton
    Skirt all pinned down and ready to trace off...
     

     2016-09-10 11.27.04

    Agy's orginal Coatigan....

    Replicate Your Clothes sewing school hove 2
    ...and her copy - half made so far but looking good!


     

     Replicate Your Clothes Sewing 2

    Janet concentrating hard on copying her linen tunic...

     Replicate Your Clothes sewing workshop classes brighton
    ..and checking the measurements match...
     

    Replicate your clothes workshop brighton hove classes sewing

    This was Janet's original tunic....

    Replicate your clothes sewing school

    ...and this is her nearly finished copy!

     

    Richie replicating his Oxford bags in Stitch Classes

    Richie replicating his Oxford bags in Stitch Classes

     Replicate copy trousers sewing school
    What an earth is this garment part?? It's a sleeve!
     

    If you'd like to make a brand new version of a much loved item of clothing for yourself, we teach this skill in any Stitch Classes or on the Replicate Your Clothes regular workshops.
    Find out more about our replicating clothes courses here

  13. Susumu Logo

    When Rachata Powell first came to learn to sew with us at Sew In Brighton she had no previous sewing experience. Fast forward a year later and she’s now running her own business making and selling her own clothes! We caught up with her to quiz her on what inspired her to start sewing, build her own business and how she’s getting on.

    Rachata Powell

    When & why did you learn to sew?
    I was a complete beginner when I first started in April last year. I had an idea of selling some trousers inspired by the traditional clothing worn by villagers in Thailand, but, in hiring someone to make these I wouldn't make any profit. So I decided to learn how to sew so I could make them myself.

    What was your inspiration to start up a clothing brand?
    At first I wanted to try and see if I could sew, then I started having fun making various things from trousers and dresses, to bags and hats. The more things I made, the more inspired I got. So I thought it would be great to make my own brand of clothing and start selling them because I now I had made so many items, I had enough to fill a shelf.

                    Susumu Apron                    Dog Kimono Susumu                  Samurai Trousers Susumu

    Who makes the clothes you sell?
    I still make all the clothes myself. My unique selling point is that everything is a "handmade product".

  14. We interview our Overlocking and Alterations teacher, professional machinist Carrie White...   

    carrie white Love Your Overlocker workshop - Sew In Brighton overlocker workshop resized

    How did you get into sewing for a living, how long have you been doing it?
    I've been sewing for about 15 years and doing it professionally for around 6 years. It took quite some time for me to realise I could do it for a living. I was working in an office and making things in my spare time, and at some point I figured out that I was happier sewing than I was at my job. I studied Costume Production at a theatre school in London and when I left I decided to go into the wedding dress industry. I contacted various bridal shops in my area, got some experience with them and have been making and altering dresses ever since.

    What do you do in your sewing jobs?  What sort of garment alterations do you do in your usual working week?
    The main bulk of my work is altering dresses, all sorts of dresses! Cotton, chiffon, jersey, velvet, silk, I've altered them all. Every now and again I'll make a dress but I like the quick turn around with alterations. The most common alteration is taking up hems - ladies come in all different heights and prefer all different shoe heights too so about 75% of all long dresses will need shortening. The next most common alteration is lifting the shoulders, this can make such a difference to the fit of a dress but is not always the most obvious change to make. 

    How do you use overlockers in your job? 

  15. What do you do when your sewing machine breaks?
    Should you be proactive or reactive in looking after one?
    Where can you get a sewing machine serviced if something goes wrong with one?

    These are questions that sewers are faced with whether you are beginner starting out, a recreational sewer or an experienced sewer with years of practice behind you. Using our friends at Bobbin Along, a servicing and repair shop in Worthing, we aim to give you an insight into the importance of maintaining a sewing machine whilst also highlighting which machines can be most trusted in terms of reliability.

    With a love of sewing from an early age, Bobbin Along owner Katy has years of experience not only from working in the industry but tips and tricks passed down through two generations. When asked about her background in sewing and where she first developed her keenness she replied:

  16. Have you come across Shoben tape yet? 

    This stripey black and white tape sticks well to fabric and is very narrow - I use it to design new necklines or bust seams on toiles or garments I want to alter - like this: 

    shoben tape

    (this is Ralph Pink on Youtube designing seam on a bustier with Shoben tape)

    Then you can mark these changes back to your pattern using a sharp spikey tracing wheel (and board underneath - a cutting mat or even just a piece of thick cardboard box will do).

    shoben tapestracing wheel amazon

    You can buy Shoben tape online for £7.50 from Sew Essential (it will last you years unless you're making numerous corsets like Ralph above!) here

    Buy your own tracing wheel online here

    Happy designing!

    Kat

     

  17. This week we've recieved some super cute swatches from The Fabric Shop, which has branches in  Burgess Hill and Worthing. Jenni who is wearing the gold skirt in the attached pic has just completed our Fashion Design & Pattern Cutting course and bought all her fabrics from there - they were gorgeous.

    It's a large shop with a huge range - I've attached my favourites here - cute rabbit print poly/linen £14.99 a metre, plus 2 gorgeous hard wearing cotton backed oil cloths at £12.99 a metre.

    The Fabric Shop also sell Husqvana Viking sewing machines from £150, plus made to measure curtains, haberdashery and hand knitting paraphernalia!

     moldiv_1456063728416 moldiv_1456063852180

    moldiv_1456063602370

    fashion design course - final skirt
    Jenni's skirt made from a fab remnant from The Fabric Shop, Worthing   

    The Fabric Shop Ltd
    The Show Rooms 55 Chapel Road Worthing BN11 1EF

    The Fabric Shop Ltd
    36 The Martlets Burgess Hill        RH15 9NN

    http://www.thefabricshops.co.uk/fabrics

  18. Are you all set for wearing your Christmas Jumper today, Friday 18th December? 

    We teamed up with ITV's charity event Text Santa to raise money for Save The Children, make some fantastic DIY christmas jumpers, and have an absolute blast last weekend - and here are the results. Participants brought a jumper or sweatshirt to customise, and we brought the tinsel, bobbles, ribbons, rosettes, felt, fabrics, and last but not least - inspiration! 

    Our students said that our teacher Jo Bunner was "very helpful and positive" and had "great ideas". We think they came up with some really fantastic jumpers to wear for Christmas Jumper Day!

    xmas jumper presents xmas jumper pudding xmas jumper santa xmas jumper wings

     

    Jo Bunner, of www.jogoodeimage.co.uk